The Exhaust Note - A Car Magazine [new article 22jan]

The Exhaust Note


The Exhaust Note Magazine aims to review cars new and old, normal and special. The type of review the car is given will depend highly on the car that is provided. For example brand new models will be given a full review compared to the current market and aimed at the potential buyer. Older daily drivers will be judged by contemporary standards and the article will detail how they currently feel to drive.

Older vehicles or special vehicles - be it a van with a particularly interesting history; a classic race car; a souped up lawnmower - will take more the shape of a descriptive article or owner’s interview.

The Exhaust Note might submit your car to a series of tests such as the quarter mile, a top speed run, braking tests, the high speed slalom, fuel consumption test, a daily drive and/or a run around our test circuit. Tests conducted obviously depend on the relevance.

The magazine will always allow the constructor or owner a voice, but any claims that do not fit our experience of the car will be noted down in the article.

Types of review:

Modern market

Retro review

Cars in history

The strange, the odd, and the remarkable


Editors Note

I will take my time for this and will be picky in which cars to review. However I invite anyone who is interested to submit cars to the magazine. I am open to guest writers for interviews and reviews as well.

Note: the first one or two reviews will be of my own cars, just to give you a flavour of the style. It is not the intention that my own cars feature beyond that.


1961 Morioka Doryoku PB900 – Cars in History 1

Today we have the opportunity to drive the quirky 1961 Morioka Doryoku PB900, a small and light Japanese utility truck. This particular example was used by the Osaka city government between 1962 and 1971, after which it was sold into private hands. It eventually switched ownership to a US service member stationed in Osaka, who imported it to the US. The little truck was restored and repainted there.

Morioka is one of the lesser known companies in Japan, despite being established already in 1942 – as producer of army truck chassis. Focussing mostly on truck and utility chassis from the start, the company has produced the odd passenger car. However, since 1976 development and production has been limited to trucks and buses.

The Doryoku is powered by a two-stroke four cylinder engine with a displacement of 837cc. Oil and fuel can be added via a small hatch above the front radiator, a quite determining feature in the truck’s appearance. The other rather endearing feature are the “eyes” as the headlight indents were referred to. The sides and rear of the Doryoku are simple and utilitarian.

The interior of the car is basic as expected, with just a bench for two people (or three small persons) and a basic dash, with only a speedometer, and a temperature and a fuel gauge. Next to the quite large steering wheel, a long thin 3-speed gear lever.

Despite low weight, the curb weight is only about 760kg, that small engine does not make the car very fast. Back in the 60’s top speed was supposed to be 100 km/h. Nowadays it still goes smoothly until 80km/h, but we notice that little truck does not like any higher speeds. Highway use was never the intention of the Morioka either; the truck was aimed at city and park authorities, driving around equipment at low speeds. And that is what the 35 horsepower and 60 Nm engine is happy to do.

Cruising at 50 km/h, the average fuel consumption was advertised as a noteworthy 5,4 litres per 100 kilometers (43,6 mpg), keeping the Morioka relevant as small city utility vehicle throughout the the 70’s. Although during our period with the little truck, we noted a 10,6 litres per 100 kilometers average (22,2 mpg) consumption rate. The Morioka was eventually phased out of use completely in the early 80’s, leaving not that many of these quirky little trucks around even in their native Japan.


1961 Silver-York Sovereign 61 Custom – the Strange, the Odd, and the Remarkable 1

car by @ProfessorP3PP3R

A bit of a special car today featuring today, as there’s quite a story to this one, next to it being a truly beautiful automobile. And the latter you would expect when we mention it is an early 60’s Silver-York. In fact, it is a beautiful wood-accented custom version of the '61 model year Silver-York Sovereign, the generation that first appeared in 1959.

We could have gone for either car of our generous contributor this week, as he dailies a 1985 Sovereign, bought new, still. The longevity of ownership here is hardly surprising. After all, the according to the company slogan, Silver-York “engenders a statement of respect that is unique in the world of proprietorship”. He owns a number of older ones as well, and is even rumoured to hold shares into the one surviving 1935 Teleiótitas – if you don’t know the car, your subscription is automatically revoked.

That said, this 1961 Sovereign is a relatively new addition to the garage of our contact – a distinguished grey-suited gentleman near retirement age with the leisurely charisma of someone who doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone anymore, but who wishes to remain anonymous. He confided in us – strengthening in our mind at least the rumours on the Teleióta – that this project was eventually the result of some frustration in not being able to procure the original.

Now, what is the story here? This 1961 Sovereign was bought new by a Californian real estate developer who had become big during the post war years, we know that much. We also know that somewhere in the 70’s the car was sold to someone in the Nye County, Las Vegas area, and that within not that long a time the Sovereign ended up being stored in a shack, falling into disrepair. We have to candid here, as we are unsure on the chronology here; the Silver-York Sovereigns can take a lot when being loved and cared for, but the large twin-carburetted, 409 cubic inch (6706cc) V8 was not exactly known for its longevity – despite rather over-engineered internals.

Back in 2008, the run down, rusting, parts-missing, by now engine-less Sovereign was freed from its shack(les) and came into the possession of our contact who started the restoration process. The running gear was put into working order with some difficulty; a replacement Silver-York 409 V8 was found, the suspension and the Runlock then-newfangled differential were restored. Upon the ladder chassis, however, the restoration diverted from historical correctness. Instead of repairing the body panels as they were, the bold decision was made to customize the Sovereign, but to historical example.

Enter the famous but lost or destroyed 1961 custom Sovereign owned by legendary Hollywood actress of Danish birth, Mairi Lynne Mortenson – sometimes better known as Lynnie Baker. The movie star had her Sovereign privately commissioned to include wood panelling along the flanks, shortly before her untimely and unfortunate sudden death (or suicide, or ritualistic murder, or political liquidation, or passionate drama, or whatever version or conspiracy you prefer).

That beautifully restored and customized example is the result of the owner’s dream and vision. A magnificent car that we can now take for a spin. The engine may not be its original one, but it is a genuine 409 V8, putting out around 305 horsepower and almost 400 ft•lb. The exhaust note is subtle and starts from an almost purr going to a low roar. The owner warns us that overheating can be an issue – historically this line of engines did not have the best reliability record.

Inside, the interior is beautifully redone as well, with the car’s original components cleaned up where possible. The front bench – room for three – is slightly damaged, but even-so the great craftsmanship of the hand-made seats is still obvious. The fashionable instrument panel and radio, with the chrome covered glove compartment, all surrounded by dark blue leather is equally impressive.

The drive is sedate and floaty, although the 3-speed automatic is quite short-geared without overdrive. The tyres on this 61 custom are the only element that is clearly not original. They are custom produced radial compound tyres. Drivability is helped with power steering, something needed in this over 2 ton, almost 6 meter long landship. Very much original are the drum brakes, noticeable even during our drive around town. One needs to drive anticipatively.

Cornering and evasive manoeuvring is at least in some part helped by a front and rear sway bars, and the innovative Silver-York Runlock differential, which could be manually disabled – signs of an upscale brand in the late 50s and early 60s on the US market. And upscale the original 61 Sovereign was, with prices going as high as $13199 back in 1961; at a time when the median income was $5700 per year.

The Silver-York is fun to cruise with, but we were at times scared of not being able to brake soon enough to stop this one-off Silver-York in modern hectic traffic. Fuel consumption – and emission limitations in the city centres – is another reason that this car is not being dailied (our drive ended with an economy of 7,8 mpg). But then again, driving was always a bit of an afterthought in completing this project.

This is sentiment. This is nostalgia.


This brings to mind Marilyn Monroe (real name Norma Jean Baker) - both of them were goddesses of the silver screen in the fifties and died tragically young.


2020 Jinhe Albatross Au (US trim) - Modern Market 1

car by @yangx2

Available at dealers nationwide in November, the 2020 facelift of the Albatross SUV from Chinese company Guangzhou Jinhe Automotive Co (“Jinhe”) aims to offer a budget alternative to domestic, European, and even some other Asian crossover/SUVs.

The Albatross started life as so many things Chinese, via the way reverse engineering, in this case the successful Toyota and Lexus SUVs. This particular facelift comes soon after the last one, indicating the more daring futuristic design was not well-received by the market.

2019 Albatross

Sticker price of the metallic black Albatross that we got our hands on is $88,242.70 for the Two-row Au trim – the top of the line. This makes the price package very competitive compared to similar full option premium SUVs.

The Albatross line-up has come a long way from their mid-2000s rugged but cheaply-built body-on-frame offroaders with quality issues; the current model is much more polished and uses a high-quality unibody. True to its heritage, the 2020 Albatross is more than a city-dwelling SUV, and offroad capabilities up to a certain point were clearly a technical design focus.

This 2020 facelift is in our view a successful effort. The large grille (with well-integrated front sensor for the SafetyShield AI collision avoidance system), the distinctive badging, and new headlights give the SUV a sleek yet slightly aggressive look. The rear is updated with the in-fashion light strip along the back. If we have to a have a single point of critique, that would the C pillar window overflow, which seems slightly sloppily executed.

The engine in our test vehicle is new as well, a turbo-charged 3,7 litre V8 putting out 423 horses and 370 ft-lb (502 Nm) intended to replace the older and less economic 5.7 litre V8 units. And from what we have seen, this new power plant is promising, running very smooth and appearing to be quite bulletproof. We are honestly looking forward to seeing this power plant appear in more models.

Top speed with this new unit is surprisingly low at (an electronically limited) 182 km/h, but any speed up to its top speed is reached comfortably and easily maintained. The acceleration from 0-100 only taking 5,6 seconds. The quarter mile takes 14 seconds. Braking performance is excellent for a vehicle this size, with vented discs all round, and no brake fade noticed after multiple emergency stops. This is in line with the relatively high safety scores this SUV receives in official tests so far, especially for Chinese standards.

In terms of utility, the new Albatross scores high as well, ranging from features such as the Honghu voice-activated Assistant with gesture control; various drive modes for the active suspension: dynamic, comfort, sport, offroad, and deep snow; automatically extending and retracting side steps; and our personal favourite, the dual folding powered boot lid, allowing for easy access via the window and an extended load floor with the lower part of the unit.

Is the new Albatross then really a serious contender for established brands? We believe so, but not all is rosy. For a start, we reserve our judgement for the long term reliability of the electronics in the car, which have been an issue for Jinhe and Honghu in the past. Also reserved for judgement, as this might be caused by lack of optimisation for the new power plant, is the 9-speed automatic gearbox. While the shifts are smooth, the gearing appears to be very offroad focussed. We feel the Albatross would have benefit wider spacing of the gears.

Point in case, we noted 8 gear changes accelerating from 0 to 50 km/h in normal city traffic. Combine this with a suspension that in our view is tuned a bit too soft for a modern SUV, and those frequent and noticeable gear changes detract from the comfort of the ride (despite very comfortable seats and a enjoyable HUD lay-out). Stability at high speed and during evasive manoeuvres suffers for the same reason. The upside of the higher suspension travel is the offroad capabilities are better than most in this class, with design and target audience very much focus on the daily commute.

Do not expect to take the Albatross on expeditions into the wild, the electric differential and all-wheel drive systems cannot take the heaviest work, but mud, loose gravel and snow are easily and safely tackled.
In terms of fual economy, we managed 11,9 l/100km (19,7 mpg) during our test run. Average fuel use while cruising at stable speed is lower, but the short gearing strongly favours lower speeds for economy. Mixed cruising figures are a respectable 7,3 l/100km (32,5 mpg), which in the end is impressive for a 2,4 ton V8 SUV.

The verdict:

(+) modern and subtle styling
(+) impressive power plant
(+) excellently equipped for competitive pricing
(+) high utility and offroad

(-) reliability and resale value concerns
(-) not a fan of the gearbox tuning
(-) road handling is sub-par for this class

Final score: 15,5/20 (can recommend)


Awesome! What a great detailed writeup on the Jinhe. Fun to see the classic soft suspension my brands are known for put to the test in beam. :smiley:


1983 Renoir Chamonix 2.3 TDL and 1985 Anhultz Dione XII CX-T - Retro Review 1

Cars by @CMT and @Elizipeazie

With the new Anhultz Dione XII coming on the market early next and the Exhaust Note being able to test out the top trim inline six powered executive model, the CX-T, we decided to go back to one of last years’ favorite executive liftbacks for a comparison.

And indeed, at first sight, the Renoir Chamonix appears similar in concept. Both cars are large family cars with a top trim more oriented at the executive level. The Chamonix though is powered by the innovative turbo-charged 2.3 diesel engine of Renior.

Styling and Utility

Styling of the new Anhultz is certainly a selling point. Beautifully detailed, with modern rear lights and nice accents overall on the car, we are certainly a fan. The Renoir is not ugly by any means, but the design already shows the rapid progression of the evolution in styling we are going through this decade.

The Renior might be a tad boring, but it makes up for that with good practicability in the form of a large boot, lots of storage space all over the car and amble leg room for all 4 seats with a comfortable arm rest between the rear seats. The Anhultz has 5 seats to put against that yet offers less space in the trunk due to the rear wheel drive layout.

Two practical points for the Anhultz still are firstly the (optional) parking poles on the front corners - incredibly useful in city streets and while parking, and even available in an electrically retractable variant. Secondly, there is the Draaikiepdeur™ (“dry-keep-durr”, litt. turn-tipping-door) mechanism for the rear hatch, of which the top opens normally independently, while the bottom part can swivel open separately transversely with hinges on the right. The idea is to allow transport of light but long cargo without the whole hatch standing open.


Positives and negatives both here. The Anhultz features a new powerplant and ignition system on an older trusted inline six layout. The 2.4 liter unit produces 115 horsepower and runs incredibly smoothly. The Renior’s innovative diesel engine is a much rougher sounding 2.3 liter inline-4 producing 90 horsepower thanks to the turbo. And that turbo-charging ensures you should not fear that this diesel act like a truck engine; clunkier than the inline-6 certainly, but we found it very responsive.

Downside of innovative systems is reliability. Over the last year there were already reports of recalls and updates to the turbo-charger and intercooling system. Anhultz builds on established technology and appears confident on the reliability of any updates to the ignition system. The downside of the Anhultz is fuel consumption, tested average cruising economy is 9.0 l/100km (26.1 mpg) versus only 6.6 (35.5 mpg) for the Renoir diesel. The higher weight and wider tyres of the Anhultz might play a role their too.

We wouldn’t have this name as a magazine if we didn’t touch this subject seriously. The inside noise of the Anhultz is not entirely enjoyable at typical highway speeds. While the inline-6 is smooth, and certainly not loud, there is this engine drone. The deeper turbo diesel of the Renoir and the higher quality sound deafening do make for a more pleasant highway cruise.

Interior, Comfort, Safety, and Price

The Renior boasts four size leather seats with a sleek, if maybe slightly boring dash. Accents in the interior of the doors and roof are finished in alcantara. The Anhultz is less comfortable in terms of seating, with a choice between good quality fabric (we are a fan) or rather cheap-ish leather (we aren’t). The instrument panel in the Anhultz is interesting, with a rather futuristic computer unit style look, assymetric gauges, all encapsuled in units turned towards the driver.

Apart from the earlier mentioned engine drone, the Anhultz is still remarkably comfortable to drive long distances with. The Anhultz also retains good road feeling, while the Renoir is tuned to appear to float over the highway more.

Both cars score about equally on government crash tests and are deemed above average safe for driver and passenger protection. Both also come standard with rear three point seat belts (excluding the middle seat in the Anhultz). Despite more premium interior, the Renoir will be the cheaper of these two cars, the current sticker price of our test car being $11.546,99, while the CX-T trim of the Dione is most likely to cost closer to $13.500.

Driving and conclusions

The Renoir we reviewed had an electronically-controlled automatic transmission (4-speed), which is great to cruise with, but can be clunky to control, and is already reported to have reliability issues. The Anhultz goes for a manual 5-speed, a step up from their current and base model 4-speed. The Anhultz is unsurprisingly faster than the Renoir, at the cost of fuel efficiency. However, at high speed cruising the difference is small.

The brakes on the Renoir are good, able to stop the car multiple emergency stops in a row. The wheels lock up but the car is stable and keeps straight. This was a bit of a surprise in the Anhultz, which despite boasting a high-end and rather expensive brake setup, appears to slightly suffer balance issues. Emergency stops result is immediately lock up and occasionally cause the rear to become light. Although it does not cause spin outs, the car did not always end up standing straight at the end of a stop. Brake pedal dosage at normal speeds and in city traffic feels right however.

The Renoir is well balanced and comfortable on the road. Despite low top speed, the engine acts effortlessly on the highway. The suspension deals well with corners and feels stable at any speed and with any load. The Anhultz appears to improve on this standard with even more composed road feel. The front-wheel Renoir is safe and easy drive, but we applaud Anhultz for making the Dione as stable as it is. For a rear-wheel drive vehicle, our test drivers had a difficult time in trying to unsettle the rear.

In conclusion, Anhultz will prove to be a force to recogned with on the market, especially attractive due to the styling - outside as well as inside - and the smooth drive. We believe the Renoir and its turbo-charged diesel engine - a unit we see a future for if reliability issues get ironed out - will remain relevant in this segment despite extra competition, especially with the great interior for the cost price, and the attractive fuel economy. The Anhultz, despite the higher price, appears to be cheaper, easier and more reliable to maintain.


A very balanced slugfest between the French and the Dutch that has apparently two winners - although the Chamonix can not deny its origins in the 70s. The Anhultz looks and feels rather massive, while Renoir had a strong focus on efficiency and value for money. Especially during the second fuel crisis in 80/81 the Renoir Diesel models had a strong demand, and the turbo diesel from 1983 set a benchmark as it was (for a Diesel) quick, responsive and still affordable with turbocharger and brand-new ECU controlled SAI (Systeme automatique intelligente) four-speeed.

If Elizipeazie is willing to, this could surely be repeated with the successors.

1 Like

1986 Spander SP and 1987 Spander SP GT - Cars in History 2

cars by @Maxbombe

A treat for the more aesthetically-appreciative readers this week, with a throwback to the futuristic 80s. We’re near Brest, in Brittany, France, visiting a collector of Spander Automobiles, and today we’ll be reviewing the 1986 Spander SP and its slightly younger GT brethren.

This Frunian two-seater light sports car followed Jean Spanders’ idea that striking design should not be a monopoly for luxury and super cars. Although the SP was not your average mass-produced car either. The power plant in particular is an incredibly smooth all aluminium two litre boxer six engine that can only be described as a limited production engine with quite over-engineered internals.

It is no surprise that this enthousiastic Spander collector resides in France. The styling of the Spander Automobiles is reminiscent of the styling of certain 70s and 80s French manufacturers. Characteristic are the rear wheel covers, low cut side windows and sleek lines. The 86 SP model is distinctive thanks to its low grille, and the strip on the flank of the cars (red in case of these examples), flowing into the tail lights. With the glass fixtures between head and tail lights, this gives the Spander a very flowing, futuristic look.

Mechanically, the Spanders had issues. As mentioned, the engine is particular, although certainly in the standard model reliable. Early ABS brakes (a feature rare on European coupes at the time) can cause brake power loss after multiple stops. And a very common issue was the chassis and bodywork rusting from very early on, with many of the most-driven examples simply ending up being beyond repair after 10 – to 15 years of being exposed to the elements.

The white car is the standard Spander SP model, in which the 2 litre engine produces a rather limited 108 horsepower. We have found that the power curve in these cars doesn’t appear to be optimal, with peak power appearing near red line. The engine was fuel efficient though giving average cruising figures of around 7l/100km (33.6 mpg).

The SP is light at about 820kg. Despite this, the rather long 4 speed manual gearbox and the engine tuning do not turn this into a nippy ride. Do not get us wrong, we enjoyed te drive and understand the appeal of the car. But with the engine response and rather soft, high-body roll suspension setup, the Spander lends itself better to casual weekend cruising than aggressively taking on twisty back roads. The sound of the power plant, while not loud, is certainly beefy and enjoyable. It enhances the driving experience.

The 1987 GT version was outfitted with a turbocharged version of the engine coupled to a 5-speed manual. Weighing in at 950kg it was heavier, but almost had double the horsepower at 200hp. In line with earlier-mentioned issues, the low volume production and relative lack of experience of the brand at this points shows in the turbo tuning. It spools up extremely late with very little effective contribution to the power output under 4000 rpm.

This has consequences even driving on public roads; for example, when you’d want to pass a car. A downshift and getting those revs up is really needed to feel you are in a sports car at moments like that. In fact, even just accelerating up to highway speed required us to shift down to 3rd during our run with the car. Trying to do so in 4th or let alone 5th simply made it difficult to merge safely into traffic passing at speed.

The 1986 SP is completely original. It has low milage and was sheltered from the elements most of the time. The 1987 SP GT has seen more action during its life time, and you can see that looking at the chassis. A few rust spots on the bodywork have been retouched.

Rather strangely, the previous owner for the GT had apparently attempted modification, leaving it with a rather strange staggered wheel set-up. At the rear the standard SP wheels, still on the car today, yet some wider tuner wheels up front. Luckily the original SP wheels of this generation are still a bit more abundant than chassis parts.

The suspension set up of the GT is not markedly different than that of the standard car, meaning ample body roll (as you can see in some pictures of the car - we didn’t push these to the limit; our collector graciously lending us the cars wouldn’t have appreciated). But even so, we felt the soft suspension in driving.

This may detract from the image of light sports car, but such setup is not completely uncommon for the mid-80’s. Both cars are nonetheless enjoyable to drive leisurely, and the body roll does not make sudden evasive manoeuvres unstable or unsafe.

Beautiful cars made quite rare because of rust issues and full of strange quirks and features. It is no surprise that the older Spanders have gained quite a fan base. Despite some low production engines, this model did prove to be quite successful, with some being sold sans-moteur, allowing dealers to fit other engines and sell them as such. Spander had issues in keeping up with the production of the intricate boxer-six engine, while keeping the price as low as advertised.

We enjoyed our time around the cars at least as much as our time driving with them. And while they aren’t performance oriented sports cars, this generation of Spander SP with the Spander engine remains enjoyable to take out on a weekend drive, with comfortable suspension and seating, and the near-salacious sounds of the boxer engine.


Excellent reviews out there, mate. Keep up the good work.


I might be blind, but how do we submit?

2018 Charge Motors Unit C5300-P - Modern Market 2

car by @DukeOFhazards

At the dealers already for almost two years, but The Exhaust Note will take a look at the top level “Charge Unit” - a bit of a name that you cannot always take seriously, if you ask us. The C5300-P is the premium 4x4 version of this pick-up truck, featuring chrome bumpers and fascia, as well as premium interior and radio, and equipped with the 5.3 liter V8 engine.

This Unit has an extended cab compared to the base and offroad versions, allowing for 5 seats, although the rear bench - despite also being in full leather - has only marginal leg room. It also loses the manual locker of the off-road oriented trim for a more smooth LSD, but is still paired to an old-fashioned 4 wheel drive system. This does mean that in everyday driving this truck is rear wheel drive.

The engine is remarkably an old truck 60° V8 engine with a single overhead cam. While producing ample power (315 horsepower and 446 Nm - or 339 ft-lb - of torque), and being virtually indestructible, it does show its age in emissions testing and fuel consumption. In this aspect the choice of Charge Motors to not develop a more suitable power plant for their premium trim strikes us as odd.

Regardless of issues, the power plant is rugged, responsible and very responsive. It is coupled with a 7-speed automatic gearbox with a low range setting that can be activated by selecting the off-road setting in the infotainment system.

The design of the Charge Motors Unit is coherent, although we feel the front fascia is lacking. Especially the front frille appears small and leaves space between the it and the bumper. Because of that, there is no real connection between the upper front fascia and the lower part. The badging in our view also looks slightly cheap, with the large letters on the rear. We are liking the daytime running lights however. They give the truck a modern, aggressive, and stylish look.

Trim details are of good quality and this premium model has good-looking 19" alloy wheels. Positives include in the inside of the truck, which is clearly premium. The seats are wide and comfortable, finished in good quality leather. The dashboard and center column is well finished with sturdy knobs and levers. Not everything screams luxury, but everything feels solid and proper.

In terms of driving, normal city and highway traffic goes smoothly overall. The gearbox is clearly designed with off-road and utility in mind, and in terms of fluidity and fuel economy, this could use an update. Fuel consumption is as mentioned before an issue. On our own test drive we averaged an anything but modern 17,7 l/100km (13,3 mpg), quite a bit above the already rather bad 13,6 l/100km (17,3 mpg) averages on the cruising tests. This coupled with the high emission readings worries us whether the C5300 Unit will still be allowed in city centers, certainly in the more environmentally minded states and nations.

High speed evasive manoeuvres make the electronic stability control work hard, and we didn’t have the chance to drive the Unit in heavy rain or snow, but expect that it might be a handful to drive outside of its 4x4 mode. In the off-road mode though, even this premium street model is impressive. While the large turning circle might play against it, we had the opportunity to test our truck on a rather demanding off-road course and the Charge Motors truck tackled it admiringly, even though this premium model lacks the ride height for the most extreme inclines and obstacles.

Overall, as you may have noticed by now, we have a number of issues with this last generation Charge Motors Unit C5300-P. We believe Charge Motors is aware of most issues, and this translates in the $41000 price tag, which we hear from good authority is more than 10 percent under production cost. It appears likely that a 2020 facelift with more modern engine and running gear is incoming. The existing platform is excellent for heavy duty and off-road purposes, but for a premium pick-up truck for everyday use it is lacking compared to the competition.

The verdict:

(+) excellent reliabilty
(+) impressive off-road performance for a road-oriented truck
(+) good utility
(+) well finished interior and trim details

(-) uncomfortable gearbox for daily use
(-) old fashioned engine and drive train
(-) bad fuel economy and future emission regulation concerns
(-) crash tests scores are bad to average

Final score: 10,5/20 (“coal is the fuel of the future”)

In all seriousness, if you live in an area where fuel prices and emission regulations are not an issue, this might just be a good buy as a premium truck.


That is a nice-looking truck for sure - but it needs an all-new engine, either a turbo straight-six or a naturally aspirated 90-degree V8, to keep up with the field in terms of performance, economy and emissions. It wouldn’t even be eligible for sale in certain regions otherwise.

1 Like

I’d buy one! :smiley:

1979 Hades Epoch - The strange, the odd, and the remarkable 2

cars by @Fayeding_Spray

The Exhaust Note is invited to a Hades Automobile Event. Yours truly gave up his free time to spend a number of hard working days enjoying Paris and visiting the Bugatti Circuit and the Musée des 24 Heures du Mans in Le Mans. Stars of the event are Hades Motorsport Global Display group’s 1979-1984 Hades Epoch Group 5 ‘Jägermeister’ and the 1979/80 Hades Epoch H-XX Concept based on the same platform.

French company Hades – founded by Étienne Laporte, but gaining reputation under his son, Hugo Laporte – is famous for its sport and race cars. Initially focussing on large V16 engine, the Epoch started a switch towards smaller turbo-charged V8 engines.

This is the JAGE4 chassis, a 1984 replacement of a crashed 1979 crashed JAGE2 chassis built for Group 5 racing. The Jägermeister Hades Epoch was one of two launch teams for the Epoch Group 5 programme from 1979 to 1984. The Distinctive orange pair of cars were run in the WSC and were respectful competitors when they were not failing due to general reliability issues with the engine and gearbox.

This particular car competed in the 1984 and 1985 24h of Le Mans – not the first venture of Hades there by any means, with the Hades Zariel kicking off quite a habit there in 1983; the Zariel being equipped with one of the characteristic 8 litre V16 engines – and continued racing in the IMSA until 1988. Afterwards it was stored at La Castelet, the storage and museum facility of Hades. But since 2010 it has been restored and is touring events in Europe and Asia.

The real treat we’re here for is this one off Concept car that Hades toured around the world for auto shows until 1981, and between 2006 and 2010. This H-XX Concept was built on the same platform as the Group 5 car and the design is reminiscent of the open roofed, high speed Can-Am cars of the 1960s. Now part of the Hades Motorsport Global Display group, it is being displayed internationally at major events, such as Pebble Beach, Goodwood Revival, and the Le Mans Classic.

The design of the concept follows the same aerodynamic nose of the Group 5 Epoch, which differs significantly from the limited production model. The two large, low-set headights really give it that distinctive look. In both cars the rest of the design flow follows the airflow into the mid-transversally positioned engine and over the giant rear wing – the Concept really upping the downforce over the Group 5 car.

Both of these cars are in working order, powered still by the original 3996 cc flat-plane V8 double overhead cams special racing engine. It is a good old fashioned turbo-charged racing engine, and that means it is extremely unresponsive at low and medium engine speeds, and then suddenly all 510 of the horsepowers are suddenly there – potentially blowing up the turbo or the gearbox, as has happened when these cars were racing. Innovative was the electronically controlled ignition system, which was an innovation compared to the mechanical fuel injection systems used more often at that time in racing engines, which made the Hades racing V8 cheaper to produce and maintain – read: rebuild after races.

Now driving the Group 5 car: it’s loud, it’s uncomfortable, it’s scary. We loved it! The one racing seat is just a bare plastic cup seat. At least it gives decent lateral support. The drive itself, although we didn’t go full flat out for safety reasons, is remarkably stable. Sure, the power kicks in suddenly at around 6k rpm, but it does not make the Epoch unpredictable. We found it actually a very competent car still on the track. We have heard the Concept has a stranger tuned suspension and the influence of the increased downforce is not fully balanced to the front downforce, but then again; this was a show car and not tuned perfectly to racing spec.


Am i allowed to use parts of this review (the Dione one) for my CSR 113 ad?

note: i will NOT use parts talking about the Renoir

Sure, go ahead!

1967 Tanaka C20X - Cars in History 3

car by @Aaron.W

Today, we delve into the history of one of the household brands, Tanaka Motors. The Japanese company is one of the big players on the market, with especially the Aventis and Atlantis being a familiar sight on the road, and long resisting the switch to Crossovers and SUVs. Although with the Ascent and Calgary and the upcoming Okanawa - which we are looking forward to and hope to review and compare against competition - the change in model focus appears to have been set off.

In terms of lower production vehicles, Tanaka, established in 1962, and producing cars since 1965, also has a rich history in premium vehicles and sport cars, all the way up to supercars, such as the exciting Akuma. The very first venture into all of this for the company was the spiritual predecessor to the X-series grand tourers: the Tanaka C20X.

This very car that we got to drive is chassis number n° 001 and currently in exhibition at the Tanaka Museum in Osaka, Japan. Originally unveiled in the 1966 Geneva Auto Show, it was an impressive engineering feat by the team of Mr. Haruto Tanaka, the founder of Tanaka Heavy Industries, to produce a sports car so soon after the Aventis, their first car, went into production.

The LR28DCOE-A1 engine is an adapted Aventis engine with 2 extra cylinders, turning it into a 2.8 liter inline-6. The single overhead cam engine runs extremely smoothly and produces 205 horsepower. The design is timeless and clearly already shows the sleek and aggressive lines that modern Tanaka models still use. Only 300 of these C20Xs were ever produced.

We thank Tanaka for allowing us to drive this history-laden example near the Museum around a specially closed road circuit. With only 10000km on the odometer, you would expect this car is in its original state. But in fact it was restored in the late 1990s. The owner of this particular was Mr. Haruto Tanaka himself, who sadly rolled the car in 1996, severely injuring him and leaving him unable to drive. After restoration, the car was driven on leisurely weekend outings by his son, Mr. Tatsuya Tanaka, for 2 years before the donation to the Museum.

Driving the C20X, we feel the grand tourer spirit. The car feels light with its tubular chassis and aerospace-grade aluminium panels; its leather-finished seats and high-quality radio indicate that this is not a circuit race car. The brakes are racing quality - for the time - disc brakes, which still feel very solid. Although we have noticed under heavy braking the rear feels like it wants to come round. This combined with the softer and comfortable suspension set up can lead to the occasional one-tyre-fire. We can imagine where it went wrong for Mr. Tanaka.

The C20X is an impressive sports car for a brand to produce so early in its history. It is, despite some inexperienced suspension and braking setup, a joy to drive. The engine note is enjoyable - even if slightly loud -, the 5-speed manual gearbox and clutch give an enjoyable amount of resistance making every gear change feel mechanical. The road feel and sense of speed is of the nature you can only find in these older sports cars. It is a blast.

With a 0-100 (0-60) time of under 7 seconds, the C20X is fast even by modern standards, and while not made for high-speed cornering or circuit racing, the whole machines invites you to push the gas pedal deeper and let the revs climb all the way to 6800 rpm before the satisfying mechanical clink into a higher gear. Equally mechanic in its operation are the pop-up headlights, which are raised via a crank on the left side of the steering wheel and activated separately.

The first Tanaka grand tourer can be seen as a success, even though with only 300 cars produced, it was a project made out of love for cars rather than for commercial goals. Despite some oddities in the tuning, and the strange choice for 190mm and 220mm wheels - making spares for surviving models a costly affair - the beautiful C20X has laid the ground for future Tanaka design accents, and started a line which evolved into among others the rare C30X Turbo Tanabe Racing, and the very successful late 90s V6-powered 300X.


1976 Elwood King Iroquois E - Interviews 1

car by @MGR_99

This is my new Mark II Elwood Iroquois. A beautiful piece of American engineering powered by a 488CI (7999cc) OHV-V8. This particular 1976 model painted in ‘Luring Blue’ and outfitted with all disc brakes is the luxurious King Iroquois E trim. Although an even higher trim level was sold, with experimental turbo-charged power plant and all-independent suspension, this is the classic.

My name is James K. Davis, 55 and happily divorced. I am a journalist for The Exhaust Note Magazine, and I buy and resale classic cars as a hobby - although I will be holding on to this Iroquois myself. I’ve both this particular vehicle from a nice old gentlemen in Utica, NY.

Hello! Good afternoon. Ready to talk about the Iroquois?

Good afternoon, young man. The Elwood has been with me for a long time.

Please introduce yourself, and tell me how you got the car.

Edwin Townsend, 79. I bought the Elwood - it is the 76 model year Iroquois - new in 75.
I had a trading company back then, and Edith and me - she's my wife - had just moved
to the suburbs.

Why the Elwood Iroquois?

She's still a looker, isn't she? Everyone and his dog - well, at least in the country club -
was buying or driving Silver Yorks at the time.
I wanted something else.

And you drove the car all this time?

I've been good to her and the old girl has been... - No, I am not talking about you, Edith -
Where was I...? The Elwood has been good to me.
We used her as our daily until the children left.
It must have been '90, maybe '89, that we bought an Ardent Manhattan.
I kept the Elwood though, and used it in the weekends.

It was that fun to drive, eh?

Correct, young man. She's so smooth to drive, to sit in. Even the kids always grew calm
sitting in the rear. And the rumble of that big engine.
They don't make them like that anymore, son.

I feel honored I can buy her of you. What made you take the big decision?

I'm getting old, young man! Edith and me are moving to Syracuse, close to the children.
I have to let the old girl... - What? No, Edith... - ... I have to let her go.
She is too big and thirsty for the big city.

Thank you, Mister Townsend. I shall take good care of her.

That is all I ask of you, young man. She returns the love you give her. Keep her pristine!